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Relational viewing

Updated: Nov 25, 2018

A call to the creativity and daring of the viewer. A challenge to be more and differently engaged - to demand more of the relationship.



For most of this year I have been working at the Towner Gallery, delivering workshops in relation to their exhibitions - it's a priviledge to be the one to 'translate' an exhibition and create a series of workshops in response to that. Working with groups is such an exciting process. As Artist in Residence part of the project has also been to look at how it might be possible to emotionally 'map' an art collection. To consider how to facilitate a more emotional response to art and how to select works from a collection that might best fulfill that role.


Duchamp said; "All in all the creative act is not performed by the artist alone; the spectator brings the work in to contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualifications and thus adds his contribution to the creative act...."

...In that sense the viewer can be encouraged to be a more active participant, to be more playful, adventurous and daring with their interactions. Not to see the work as finished and them as passive and possibly inadequate viewer but to explore their own part and responses in relation to this sense of being a partner in ‘meaning making’ and to value their role more highly.


It offers a visual and experiential way to see ourselves and our view of the world, a guide and a mirror to our emotions and feelings, a dialogue of one emotional state to another. And it is this sense of connection, this being an equal partner in the meaning making, that is so engaging. A shift in the role of artist as active and viewer as passive. A call to the creativity and daring of the viewer. A challenge to be more and/or differently engaged and to demand more of the relationship.




#duchamp #victorpasmore #townergallery #artistinresidence

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All images and words © Jenny Arran 2020